The Year in Review: Ant Salmon

  • Year in Review brought to you by Marsden Inch
  • December 14, 2012
  • StopPress Team
The Year in Review: Ant Salmon

The tenth year of Auckland indie Big Communications has been another solid one, with new clients like Motorcorp, Barfoot & Thompson, ATEED and The Langham, and more good stuff as part of the long-running Vero campaign. Managing director Ant Salmon goes long. 

1) Favourite campaign that isn’t yours just love the Mastercard/All Blacks campaign. It doesn’t make me want to get one but I do hope it’s worked its Adidas socks off for them. The writing, the talent, the performance, the direction (and the introduction of Nonu Nonu Nonu Boom! into the vernacular), it just makes me laugh every time. And it’s a very rare example of the central creative idea translating well into other media. When I see the little fella hugging Richie on an Adshel, or hear him phoning Richie from the curry house in the radio ads, it makes me momentarily very happy.

 2) Favourite campaign that is yours

Sorry, but it’s a dead heat. We were instrumental in developing a new ticketing product for the Blues in 2012, True Blues. From a standing start we sold over 4,000 four-game or eight-game prepaid passes to Blues home games. As the weather and the playing performance deteriorated over the course of the season, the financial benefit to the franchise was critical, as fans had pre-paid for games they ended up not coming to. The price was so ridiculously affordable that our research shows us there is no residual resentment and they’ll be back for more in 2013.

I loved the campaign we did for Barfoot & Thompson’s sponsorship of the ITU World Triathlon final. It put a smile on a lot of faces, made a great and unlikely connection between real estate and triathlon, was hugely popular across the Barfoot & Thompson network and I gather is now being held up in Triathlon circles outside of New Zealand as an example of best-practice sponsorship leverage.

3) Least favourite campaign

This sounds horribly grumpy, but there’s actually a fair amount of stuff I don’t like. Mostly, it’s the campaigns built on a false ‘insight’ that piss me off; the financial services and beer categories are riddled with them. I am also becoming slightly irrational about the over-use of the word 'Kiwi’ in New Zealand advertising. I can’t imagine there’s a country anywhere that’s quite so obsessed about mentioning its nationality at every opportunity (declaration: I’m English, but I love it here). The winner? It doesn’t make it a bad campaign, but when I hear ‘Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride’ I just have to switch channel or station (declaration: Big has an insurance client). 

4) Best brand

Britomart, for its vision, innovation, strategy, execution and consistency (declaration: Big is a Britomart tenant). 

5) Best stoush

The ‘milk wars’ were terrific. Nosh played a really good hand; not only did they make (win?) a very good argument on the milk issue, it was a really effective platform for them to shift the perception of their brand from high-end expensive food store to everyday grocer (declaration: Clinton Beauvink, Nosh founder, was my son’s soccer coach in 2001). 

6) Heroes

There are no heroes in marketing. Real heroes fight wars, live with a disability, spend their lives teaching or nursing… So he’s not my hero but I did think it was pretty cool when Michael Pryor of IAG explained the decision to move the AMI business to Colenso without a pitch because he acknowledged the pitch would be disruptive, time-consuming and cause a loss of marketing momentum. For a senior marketer to just skip the process was, strangely, a good thing (IMHO) because, mostly, the process is bollocks (IMHO).

7) Villains

The people who run advertising for strip clubs, sex products or escort services where my young daughter can see or hear the ads. Prostitution might be legal, but advertising within earshot or sight of children is just wrong (IMHO).

8) Most memorable marketing moment

It’s not every day that a brand as big as National Bank disappears off the landscape, so although it’s not really a ‘moment’ I have been fascinated to see how that has all played out.

9) A few predictions for 2013

England to win the Six Nations.

England to win the Ashes (twice).

The British Lions to win the series in Australia.

Spurs to win the EPL.

The Blues to be the big surprise of Super Rugby 2013.

At least one major bank to go back to the drawing board with its advertising campaign.

New Zealand advertisers to realise that the best place to reach me is on my iPad.

I’m having second thoughts about the Spurs thing…

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